An Exhibition of Pontification

Article excerpt


Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee and his Republican colleagues engaged in a 39-hour marathon of preaching "to the choir" ("The marathon of judges," Op-Ed, Thursday).

My first knee-jerk reaction upon hearing of this dialogue was, "What a monumental waste of time." However, I watched for quite a while one evening as senators from both parties pontificated before their ardent, if not blind, ideological supporters. Who else do they really believe is watching? Mr. Frist and company decry that Democrats in the Senate are voting in block to prevent votes on judicial nominees in a manner Mr. Frist says violates our Constitution.

Like the police captain in "Casablanca" who claims, "I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here" just as someone hands him his winnings, Mr. Frist and the Republicans are shocked at the trampling of our Constitution. Yet Congress, the executive branch (through presidents) and the judiciary have been engaged in competition with one another since our Constitution was ratified to see which branch could trample it "best" to usurp power denied them by that very Constitution.

"I'm shocked, I'm shocked," Mr. Frist cries. From its inception, our American republic has stood united by the concept of the rule of law - not by duty or fealty to king or state, but as sovereign citizens who, regardless of party or faction, placed adherence to the rule of law under our written Constitution above all else. This was the glue that held our nation together, the "tie that binds," that made us one nation. …